Set against the action-packed world of mixed martial arts, Never Back Down is the story of Jake Tyler (Sean Faris), a tough kid with a big heart, who has to learn that in life, everyone has their fight.
Orlando, Florida may as well be the moon for Iowa-native Jake with its ten-million dollar mansions set ten feet apart. The privileged teenagers of this American Dream on steroids want for nothing; they zoom around upscale neighborhoods in expensive cars, wearing bikinis and flip-flops, affecting the jaded ennui of kids with too much, too soon. Life is one big party for them.
Jake was a star athlete on the football team back home, but in this new city he is an outsider. Considered "the new kid" with his taciturn attitude and lumberjack attire, Jake's not winning friends anytime soon, and that's OK with him. Quiet and withdrawn, he's silently suffering from the recent loss of his father. It's not long, however, before Jake's troubled past re-emerges when a clip of a spectacular football-field fist fight from Iowa is forwarded around his new school.
Things take a turn when he meets Baja (Amber Heard) in class. She's beautiful—and smarter than she lets on. At her invitation, Jake goes to a party where he is unwittingly pulled into a fight with a bully named Ryan McCarthy (Cam Gigandet). He is defeated and humiliated in the fight and subsequently wary of everyone, especially Baja, who may have set him up. But it's Jake's enthusiastic, good-hearted classmate Max (Evan Peters), who sees a champion in Jake. He tells Jake about the sport known as mixed martial arts (MMA) and invites him to meet with his coach, Jean Roqua (Djimon Hounsou).
It is immediately apparent to Jake that MMA is not street fighting, but rather an art form he's determined to master. Roqua will take Jake under his wing, but it is up to Jake to find the patience, discipline and motivation to succeed. For Jake, there is much more at stake than mere victory. His decision will not just settle a score; it will define who he is.
Summit Entertainment's Never Back Down stars Sean Faris, Djimon Hounsou, Amber Heard, Cam Gigandet and Evan Peters. The action drama is directed by Jeff Wadlow from a script by Chris Hauty. The producers are Craig Baumgarten and David Zelon with Bill Bannerman serving as co-producer. Lukas Ettlin is the director of photography. Academy Award nominee Ida Random is the production designer. Judy Ruskin Howell is the costume designer, and Victor Du Bois and Debra Weinfeld are the film editors.